Kirsten Andersen

ObamaCare ‘driving up premiums across the country’: 41 percent in Ohio

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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COLUMBUS, OH, August 2, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ohioans who buy government-mandated health insurance through ObamaCare’s new state exchanges next year can expect 41 percent higher rates, according to the state insurance commissioner.

Insurance commissioner Mary Taylor, who is also Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor, says that ObamaCare’s mandated coverage for things that used to be optional, such as contraceptives and sterilizations, and the red tape and oversight that comes with it is driving the average cost of individual health care premiums up.

This contrasts with the Obama administration’s claim that the new laws will make health care affordable for all.

Currently, the average premium in the individual market is $236.29 per month, according to Taylor. Under ObamaCare, it will be $336.44.

“The ACA [Affordable Care Act] requires more benefits that every consumer is required to purchase regardless of whether they want them, need them, or can afford them,” Taylor said.

“Ohio has traditionally had a more competitive health-insurance market than other states with a wider range of prices and choices — from simple, high-deductible coverage to comprehensive, full-service plans,” Taylor added. “That level of diversity is essentially outlawed under ObamaCare, so Ohio’s rates and premiums are going up significantly, and going up more than in other states where prices were already high.”

Said Taylor, “The bottom line is [ObamaCare] is driving up premiums across the country.”

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, who represents Ohio’s 8th congressional district, said the state’s predicament was proof that the president's health care reform law is making American health care worse, not better.

“The announcement today in Ohio by Lt. Gov. Taylor is irrefutable evidence that the president’s health care law is not ‘working fine,’” said Boehner. “To the contrary, it is hurting our economy, driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire workers.”

Ohio Senator Rob Portman agreed. “ObamaCare is making things more difficult for families struggling to make ends meet;” the senator said, “it’s making it harder for them to keep their heads above water.”

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But ObamaCare’s defenders say Taylor and her colleagues are missing the big picture. Col Owens, co-chairman of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, told the Columbus Dispatch that even though coverage will be more expensive for most people under ObamaCare, consumers will get more services for their money because of the mandates, added benefits he believes are worth the price. He said those who truly can’t afford it will be eligible for government subsidies.

“They ought to be saying that premiums are going to go up, but more people are going to be covered and coverage will be better because it must meet essential health-benefits criteria, and it’s going to be more affordable because people who need help paying for it will get help,” Owens said. “When you put all that together, it’s a very different message.”

Cathy Levine, executive director of the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio, said that it was necessary for healthy people to pay higher premiums in order to cover the roughly one million people with serious pre-existing conditions who had been ineligible for health insurance before ObamaCare forbade insurance companies from denying them coverage.

“It’s too bad for Ohio consumers that Mary Taylor has concealed as bad news what is actually great news – that the federal exchange will increase access to affordable health insurance to nearly 1 million people who are currently shut out of the insurance market,” Levine said.

Steffany Larkins, chief of staff for the Medical Mutual of Ohio insurance company, told Cleveland.com that “everybody will pay more” under the new health care law. On the bright side, she said, ObamaCare’s mandates enable consumers to “utilize a broader base of benefits” at the higher price.

Ohio’s rate jump announcement comes on the heels of a letter sent earlier this week by Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens to the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services. In the letter, Hudgens notified HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that health insurance rates in Georgia will rise nearly 200 percent under ObamaCare, and asked for an explanation from the Obama administration, as well as more time.

"Georgia insurance companies are demanding massive rate increases up to 198 percent for some individuals." Hudgens wrote to Sebelius. “Companies opting to participate in the Exchange have provided the Department with evidence that their rates are justified and in compliance with Georgia law, citing the new ObamaCare mandates as the reason.”

“Georgia consumers cannot afford these massive rate increases,” Hudgens added.  “I was always skeptical of ObamaCare...But I never imagined that it would lead to rates being doubled or tripled...Increases of this magnitude will make coverage less affordable and increase the number of uninsured in Georgia.”

Hudgens asked Sebelius to clarify whether the massive increases were actually allowable under ObamaCare, and to give the state 30 extra days before it must publish its final rates.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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